Notorious Samajwadi Party politician Kunwar Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias alias Raja Bhaiya was forced to submit his resignation to UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav after yet another case of murder was linked to him on Sunday. But on this instance too like in every other in his political career spanning 17 years now, he will walk away eventually. In pratapgarh Raja Bhaiya is a dreaded name. All the five vidhan sabha constituencies in the district vote on his name and on occasions opposing candidates even fear to file their nomination. Ones that do are debarred from campaining in the constituencies. People who oppose him, are found dead in mysterious circumstances. The name Raja Bhaiya is not just symbolical, he rules the district. The fact that he has been charged under POTA doesn’t matter to any of his voters. A interesting fact here being that the samajwadi party dropped all charges on him within 25 minutes of coming into power, a decision later overturned by Supreme Court. In 1997, Outlook magazine described him aptly:
“HE is the archetypal Chhote Thakur, straight out of a Mumbaiya Hindi potboiler. He holds court in his courtyard and delivers instant justice—slaps jurmaana (fine) on ‘erring subjects’ or orders a ‘sound’ thrashing. His subjects, poor men, women and children, touch his feet with their foreheads, pleading for mercy. Outside his fortressed Bainti Estate, people queue up every morning to offer salutations, their bodies bent at 90 degrees, hands raised in a namaste above their heads.”
What is the problem actually which makes these people above law. Essentially it is the failure of the system that makes its citizens place their belief in these criminals. As raja bhaiya proudly asserts in rallies ”who will stand against the government for you? Who will talk to the babus to get your work done?” The administration is so corrupt and inefficient, people fear to approach the police or government offices in any matter concerning them. Instead it is musclemen like these whom they look upon. Every day he is home at his sprawling residence in he hosts a darbaar to listen to his subjects, and to dispense justice. The most chilling example of his strong arm tactics came to light in 2003, when two skeletons were recovered from a pond in his premises. And the party supporting these goons, in this case the samajwadi party, couldn’t care less. He is the thakur face of the party, gaining more importance after the ouster of Amar Singh. In pratapgarh it is the name of Raja bhaiya that gets votes, the candidate’s name is not even mentioned. As an article in 2002 states
“The man favoured by the Raja’s attention simpers, visibly swelling up with importance. And so he should — the elderly gent is Ramnath Saroj, the independent candidate contesting the Assembly seat on the ‘chair’ symbol.
These are his people, his potential voters. And yet, he fiddle-foots on the dais, clearly aware that he does not belong. Painfully aware that the crowd is here for Raja Bhaiya, he takes off the garland and fades into the background. Never, in the meeting that lasts 25 minutes, will he be seen, or heard from, again.”
So to the samajwadi party he is a political asset. This is also clear from the fact that regardless of being an independent MLA he was the fourth person to be sworn in the Akhilesh Yadav cabinet of ministers in 2012 or that he is imprisoned every time BSP comes to power and released and made a minister when SP regains power.
Bottom of Form Who does the blame lie with? It’s the politics of the country which protects these criminals, a system made so inefficient by the “people’s representatives” that nobody but them gains from it. And until the faith of public in the system is restored more Raja Bhaiyas will be seen across the political spectrum.